Argyll’s ‘astonishing’ marine pollution captured on camera

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Immersed in the fast-moving cosmopolitan world of the London photographic scene, it would surely take something special to draw Elizabeth Presland to the chilly west coast of Scotland in winter.

Elizabeth is picture desk editor for the Sunday Times. Her work has been exhibited internationally – yet she ventured to the frozen north west in December to pursue a passion.

She came to Argyll to witness for herself the impact of marine pollution and was shocked by what she found.

Elizabeth Presland – on a mission

‘I was drawn to Scotland after my research led me to discover that Scotland held some of the most remote places in the UK to be affected by plastic pollution,’ Elizabeth explained.

‘This is affecting migratory birds, which are ingesting plastic and dramatically depleting in numbers.

‘I came to Scotland having researched places of particular concern to visit, however, I was astonished to find that my research was unnecessary, for on every loch we traversed and every shore I found plastic awaited me at every turn.

‘In the most remote, breathtaking wilderness of Scotland, plastic litters the landscape, being brought in with the tides and making its way up the lochs, into the streams and across Scotland’s shores.

‘My project looks to explore humankind’s relationship to waste pollution, which is set to be the downfall of all amidst the distractions of borders, migration and nationalism.

‘Water networks have been traditional routes of trade, culture and sharing for millennia and are now polluted from their micro to their macro ecosystems.

‘For me this is a pertinent place to explore how we can approach our relationship to each other and the earth, not through scaremongering but through reflection on the systems that keep us together and how pollution affects mankind and the delicate balance of life.’